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Nevada County’s Citizen’s Academy aims to inform

Nevada County residents can now apply for the Citizen’s Academy.

Registration is available at mynevadacounty.com/citizensacademy. The site will guide prospective participants through the application process.

People must register at the county website by Aug. 15.

Officials say the academy will inform residents about agriculture, zoning, and much of the alphabet acronym-designated departments in between.

Taylor Wolfe, administrative analyst for the County Executive Office, said there are 10 sessions on consecutive Mondays, starting Sept. 27 and concluding Dec. 10. Some sessions are in person at the Eric Rood Administration Center, 950 Maidu Avenue, Nevada City. Other sessions will be done remotely through Zoom.

“Participants will hear from our agency directors and department heads and, in some sessions, learn about what ‘a day in the life’ looks like for department staff,” said Wolfe. “It is a great opportunity to ask questions about county services. It includes where they can submit service requests online, meet county staff, and understand the responsibilities of each department and how they work together with our nonprofits and city/town jurisdictions.”

Additional topics presented will include county finance, information technology and geographic information systems, sheriff services, Community Development Agency, social services, the district attorney, behavioral and public health, emergency services, and the Board of Supervisors. The academy ends with a graduation ceremony.

Graduates of the academy have displayed continued high levels of engagement with county government. To date there are more than 100 graduates.

“Many go on to participate in our committees and commissions,” said Wolfe. “Others may work for local nonprofits and benefit from learning how the county provides services to the same clients they serve, or participate in the public process more actively after learning about government processes.”


One individual who completed the course and several years later entered government is Bob Branstrom. He has graduate degrees in economics and cognitive psychology, and enjoyed careers in government, banking and health care. He became more involved in community activities, and was elected last year to the Grass Valley City Council.

Branstrom said he is a firm believer that people who want to get involved with the community must learn about it. One of the aspects of the academy is it’s a prime opportunity to meet people.

“It’s a great way to meet people who can help you get more involved with the community,” he said.

One of the academy’s more memorable sessions for Branstrom was the emergency services/airport course. It was interesting in part because it convened at the airport and attendees got to meet the staff.

While there a distress call was logged about a fire in the Lake Tahoe area, and they cleared the class from the tarmac to dispatch one spotter plane and two tankers.

“That really helped you understand the importance of the airport,” he recalled. “My motive (for attending the academy) was I wanted to know how things worked in the county.”

Branstrom has recommended the academy to numerous residents who desire to get involved. He calls it a great program to educate people about what county does and how goals are achieved.

“For me, of all the people there, some are of different political persuasions and it’s an opportunity to meet with people who have a different point of view,” he said.

William Roller is a staff writer with The Union. He can be reached at wroller@theunion.com

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